When you’re young it seems like you need to volunteer and the possibilities are endless. You take the time to volunteer because it increases your chances of getting into college, because it might lead to job opportunities and because it feels good to help out. As you get older, it feels like there are fewer opportunities and your time is limited. Remember what it feels like to help others by following these tips on volunteering for busy adults.
Play to Your Strengths
Follow the lead of executives who volunteer like attorney Robin Stoby. He is a founding member of a law firm as well as chairman of The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry. In his role as bank chairman, he helps GBTI fundraise and collect donations for people in the region who are affected by natural disasters. Whether your gift, like Mr. Stoby’s, is networking and organizing, or you’re a hands-on person who wants to be working on the frontlines, play to your strengths. Maybe you speak a second language or you knit for relaxation. No matter your skillset, there’s a way to apply it to help others.
Make Volunteering a Priority
You make time to exercise and time to watch some TV. If you want volunteering to be part of your life, you have to commit to volunteering. Treat it like a part-time job and work it into your schedule instead of treating it as something you might do if you find some spare time. As you sit down to plan your week or month, plan the times you will volunteer. This is especially important if your volunteer work can be done at any time. Without scheduling it will get pushed off and potentially never completed.
Find Unusual Ways to Volunteer
If you simply can’t fit in a few hours a week for volunteering, look for more unusual volunteering opportunities. Usually, these opportunities involve more time commitment in a single chunk with long periods of no obligation. Try a volunteer vacation or take part in a Habitat for Humanity building project a couple of times each year. Thinking outside the box is more valuable than volunteering at a soup kitchen during the holidays when every other person who wants to volunteer is doing the same thing.
Involve Your Family
Finally, see if you can get your family involved in your volunteer efforts. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone: spending more time together and doing good for your community. When your family is involved you keep each other motivated to continue giving, you build memories and create a legacy of doing good. Instead of silently watching a screen, volunteering together gives you time to really talk and connect.
In times where people are more likely to hit the “donate” button than to give time, volunteers are needed more than ever. Even as a busy adult there are volunteer opportunities that need your skills, enthusiasm and presence. You’ll create new connections that might even feed back into your regular job and you will be doing something great for others and for yourself.